Name: The Summer Garden (TBH #3)
Author: Paullina Simons
Daniela’s rating: 5 stars
Just a warning: remember this is the third book of The Bronze Horseman Series. It may give you an idea of what’s to come, even though I’ll try my best to keep it spoiler-free, but I can’t promise anything. So, if you haven’t read the previous two books, you might want to think twice before reading this.
The last book. I don’t even know how to start this review. This was awful and it was beautiful and it was heartbreaking and it was heart warming. It was everything. It had everything.
A while ago, my dear friend LeAnn told me I should read this series, that I needed to read this series. Why it took me so long to finally get to it… I don’t know. I still ask myself that same question every single day. But, anyway, here I am, writing my review for one of the most heartbreaking and beautiful stories I’ve read. It’s hard to review a book that made me feel so many things at once, and one that was so horrible and so beautiful, all at the same time. It’s hard, but I’ll do my best.
This is the conclusion of a swoon-worthy, gut-wrenching story. By now we’ve met and fallen in love with Tatiana Metanova and Alexander Belov-Barrington. Their story hasn’t been an easy one, pretty far from it, actually. They’ve gone from meeting, to going to war, to starving to death, to going to prison, to being tortured, to going to America. They’ve gone through everything life could throw at them, and then some. No couple should go through that much, not even a fictional one. And they kept fighting and they kept going. That’s the beauty of Tatiana and Alexander. They fight and they do everything that’s in their power to be with each other, to save each other. This is by far the hardest book of the series. You can’t possibly imagine what’s going to happen next, but you have this feeling that something is not right.
Now, let me tell you a bit of the story. Alexander is back. He’s back to his real motherland with Tatiana and their beautiful, and curious, and amazing little boy, Anthony. The bad is behind them, it’s in another country, it’s in another continent, for that matter. Or at least that’s what Tatiana and Alexander are trying to believe, but they know better, and even so, they won’t talk about it. They just keep everything in and pretend everything is ok. Which it is, sort of, because they’re together and they can work it out.
It’s not easy, for Alexander or Tatiana to live this new life. They’ve fought so hard in the past, and now that the enemy is far behind, they don’t know what to do. They only have the broken pieces of themselves to pick up, but every day it keeps getting harder and harder to do so. Alexander is constantly lost in his thoughts, he flies away in his mind, remembering what it was like back then, what he saw and experienced, what he lost. Tatiana, on the other hand, keeps trying to make their life something it clearly isn’t. Yes, her intentions are good, she only does it to bring him back, but she doesn’t really know how to do that. How to do whatever made him happy, to be what made him happy. They’re both lost in a different place, and they can’t seem to find each other.
Oh, but they do. They always do.
“I love you. I’m blind for you, wild for you. Sick with you. I told you that our first night together when I asked you to marry me, I am telling you now. Everything that’s happened to us, everything, is because I crossed the street for you. I worship you. You know that through and through…”
Tatiana is the same she’s always been, only she’s stronger, if that’s even possible. She fights, she falls, she crumbles, and she gets up to keep fighting. Her way of seeing life is so different, full of innocence, and reality, and beauty. She sees life in a completely different way we’re all used to read. Of course, she’s lived through the hardest times and experienced the hardest situations and has learned the hardest of truths. And somehow she keeps moving, she keeps going, and she keeps hoping everything will turn out just fine. Sometimes, it was so hard for me to understand why she did the things she did, and why she didn’t do the things she didn’t. She’s frustrating, and stubborn and everything in between. But I love her. She’s the strongest girl and I love her, and now I miss her.
“Alexander, you broke my heart. But for carrying me on your back, for pulling my dying sled, for giving me your last bread, for the body you destroyed for me, for the son you have given me, for the twenty-nine days we lived like Red Birds of Paradise, for all our Naples sands and Napa wines, for all the days you have been my first and last breath, for Orbeli- I will forgive you. ”
(Can you hear my heart breaking? No? Well, it is. Again, after reading this)
Alexander Barrington. He’s a Barrington again. Oh how you broke my heart. I was so, so, so mad at you. I was so angry I even thought about dropping the book. I couldn’t take that much, my heart couldn’t take it anymore. I can’t even think about it without my heart breaking. In this book, he’s put in some situations that will test him, that will tempt him, that will destroy him, and Tatiana, and me, and possibly (most likely) you too. He’s not an easy guy. He’s not the typical moody and mysterious guy. No. Alexander, Shura, is a temperamental man. He’s strong, he’s passionate, he’s jealous, he’s stubborn, he’s a macho. He’s dominant. But he loooooves, and he cares and he fights for what’s right, and he knows he’s not okay. He knows there’s a lot that’s wrong in him, and he knows the only way he can be saved is by Tatiana’s side. He knows that the only one that can love him, and save him, and do him any kind of good, is Tatiana. So he will fight her, and he will fight for her until he gets her.
“I was blinded by stupidity for a brief moment in our life, for a flicker in the eternity in which you and I live, and I stumbled.”
You have to love them, suffer with them, hate them, be them, to read this series properly. You live these books, you don’t just read them. They’ll pull you in from page one and you will experience everything as if it were happening to you. There’s no other way. I cried, and punched my pillows, and silent-screamed my frustration and hurt with this book. I needed time to process everything that was happening, and not only that, but I needed time to breathe, to find by breath again, because I kept losing it between sobs.
This book was really hard for me. I considered dropping it because it was breaking me. I felt everything they were going through was happening to me, too. So, just a little piece of advice: be patient. Remember why you fell in love with the book in the first place, and keep those memories close, so you have the strength to keep going.
But just so you know, just so we’re clear… I loved everything about it, except for a few things, but overall… damn. This was so good. The characters are all amazing. The pace of the story is particularly fast in this book, but it’s so well explained and detailed, you can’t miss anything. The story is beautifully written and it’s well beyond perfect. It makes you think, and it makes you feel a thousand things.
“To cross the street. To follow her. And she will give your life meaning, she will save you. Yes, yes- to cross.”